1. What did Nebuchadnezzar say about God’s wonders, kingdom, and dominion?
He said God’s wonders, kingdom, and dominion is everlasting: “(1) Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. (2) I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. (3) How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation” (Daniel 4:1-3).
- Nebuchadnezzar expressed peace multiplied to all under his dominion. The only other king recorded in the O.T. that made the same expression was Darius (Daniel 6:25).
- He then begins the purpose of his address. He wants to record how God wrought great signs and wonders toward him. Psalms were addressed for such reasons (Psalms 66:10-20).
- Not all people have learned from the things God performed that they witnessed (Exodus 7:3, Numbers 14:11, Psalms 78:22-32, Luke 24:1-12 [cf. Matthew 28:17], and John 12:36-43).
- What Nebuchadnezzar is doing is why God did such things (Psalms 105:26-45, Acts 2:42-43, and Hebrews 2:1-4).
- As we study through this chapter we will see why Nebuchadnezzar is praising God so much. What he states is true. God’s kingdom and dominion is everlasting (Psalms 145:13 and Isaiah 9:6-7).
2. As we saw an example of in Daniel chapter two, who did Nebuchadnezzar turn to for the interpretation of this dream?
When all of the so-called “wise men” of the Chaldeans could not interpret the dream, he turned to Daniel: “(4) I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace: (5) I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. (6) Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream. (7) Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof. (8) But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying, (9) O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof” (Daniel 4:4-9).
- Times were good for Nebuchadnezzar and he was at rest. What was he not considering (Luke 12:13-21 and Revelation 3:14-22)?
- When we read of him being troubled, we can Scripturally see why (Isaiah 57:20-21).
- Then again, Nebuchadnezzar did as he had formerly. He sought for the “wise men” to come to interpret his dream (Daniel 2:1-2).
- Then again, they could not tell him (Daniel 2:7-10).
- Then again, Daniel comes as a prophet of God to tell the dream (Genesis 41:38-40).
- God revealed secrets to the prophets (Amos 3:7).
3. What dream did Nebuchadnezzar have in our current context?
“(10) Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. (11) The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: (12) The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it. (13) I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; (14) He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches: (15) Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth: (16) Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him. (17) This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men. (18) This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee” (Daniel 4:10-18).
- This dream, especially after we read the interpretation, is a lot like what Ezekiel prophesied concerning Egypt by illustrating the Assyrian (Ezekiel 31:1-18).
- When it comes to God making known to the living that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will we see what we should already know. When God was behind something, he did not leave such to be a mystery. He declared loudly that He was the source of such and such (Genesis 9:11-17, Joshua 24:31, Isaiah 42:8, Isaiah 45:18-19, Isaiah 48:11, and Ezekiel 12:16).
4. What was the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in this context?
“(19) Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies. (20) The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth; (21) Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation: (22) It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth. (23) And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew the tree down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him; (24) This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king: (25) That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. (26) And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule” (Daniel 4:19-26).
- Daniel was “astonied” [astonished; stunned] for one hour. Daniel is troubled in the future, because of visions, as well (Daniel 8:26-27 and Daniel 10:8).
- The interpretation is to Nebuchadnezzar’s enemies for they shall be the ones to humble him. Remember, Nebuchadnezzar was God’s appointed man to take Judah captive (Jeremiah 25:1-9). Like Israel, once Nebuchadnezzar erred against God he too would be delivered to his enemies (Judges 2:14 and Psalms 44:9-10).
- The tree that grew represented Nebuchadnezzar that had grown his dominion to the end of the earth (Jeremiah 27:5-8).
- The order for the humbling of Nebuchadnezzar came from Heaven (Isaiah 46:10-11).
- Nebuchadnezzar was going to be driven away to learn that the heavens do rule (Deuteronomy 4:32-40 and Psalms 75:7).
5. What did Daniel instruct Nebuchadnezzar to do after the interpretation of his dream?
Repent: “Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity” (Daniel 4:27).
- The opportunity for repentance is now granted (Isaiah 58:1-14, Ezekiel 33:1-33, and Jonah 3:1-10).
- For repentance to occur in anyone, there has to be humility (II Chronicles 7:14 and James 4:6-10).
- Tranquillity, as the word was used from Daniel to the king, was to be in safety; ease; prosperity (Strong’s # 7963).
- If he hears and obeys the Lord’s will, genuine peace can exist for him. This was God’s way (Isaiah 48:18).
6. What happened to Nebuchadnezzar as he was walking in the palace talking about the great Babylon he had built?
The prophesy of the dream was fulfilled: “(28) All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar. (29) At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. (30) The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? (31) While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. (32) And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
(33) The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws” (Daniel 4:28-33).
- We now learn he didn’t change his ways. 12 months later he was in the palace boasting of how great he and his kingdom was. Then came what the dream said would. He was driven from his palace (Psalms 18:27, Proverbs 16:18, Isaiah 2:11-12, Obadiah 1:1-9, and Matthew 23:1-11).
- Had they listened to Jeremiah… Jeremiah 50:1-32
7. Did Nebuchadnezzar learn anything after his dream became his reality?
Oh yes, after his pride was abased: “(34) And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: (35) And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? (36) At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. (37) Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase” (Daniel 4:34-37).
- The wording of this is context great. However, like the Parable of the Prodigal Son, it took something dire for him to wake up (Luke 15:11-32).
- Nebuchadnezzar learned the power of God through this (Lamentations 3:19-23).
- None can stop God (Psalms 115:1-8 and Isaiah 43:13). Why do many have to learn this the hard way (Job 42:1-6)?
- When his reason returned to him… abasement (Luke 14:11).
© 2020 This study was prepared for a Bible class with the Sunrise Acres church of Christ in El Paso, TX by Brian A. Yeager.